Dec 29, 2009

Meandering Thoughs

     Take ye heed. This post hath no rhyme or reason.
     Here I sit clacking away on the keyboard tonight. A few random thoughts are going around in my mind, so I thought I would share them with you. Why? Because I can because it's my blog.
     Thought one: Why does Facebook post on your wall every time you breathe? It is just discouraging to look at the long list of likes and comments that you made and think about how much time you took to do them.

     Thought two: I have narrowed down my list of eleven agencies to two or three. Now we are getting somewhere. Beginning to think self-publishing looks inviting... but I will resist the temptation to throw my hands in the air just yet.

     Thought three: It has been almost two years since I began to write my book. Happy anniversary to me.

     Thought four: I emailed an agent asking if he accepts science fiction or fantasy. He wrote back saying "No. Try (name of agent I first sent my proposal to)." God definitely has a sense of humor.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Dec 22, 2009

Evil Time

     I'm sure every one of my friends, even the "Underground Elves," have heard me express my lack of time to do, well, basically anything. This is usually due to the many projects I wish to undertake, while at the same time, I must see to my, shall we say, regular duties.
     Publishing a book falls under the "projects" list, and while it is a particularly high priority project, even it must be put off at certain times. Like at Christmas time.
     Someone asked me earlier this afternoon how my search was going. This is an indication that I need to write a new update. So here it is... nothing new.
     Very sad. But necessary. Just this past week, I hardly had time to take a breath.
     I do plan to pick up my quest for a new agent very soon after Christmas. Or New Years. Somewhere thereabouts.
     I have a list of agencies all ready, about eleven of them. *pauses* Yeah, that's a lot. My plan of action is to choose two or three agents, research their credentials, and send the story to them. While I am waiting for replies, I'll research two or three more. Hang on to your seats, people. This could get confusing. :)
     So, thar be yer update fer the day, matey....
     *shakes head*
     I think I better stop typing before I make a fool of myself. Yes, I am tired.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Dec 17, 2009

Whoever Started this Christmas Thing

     An email has been going around. You may have already read it, but it was just forwarded to me. The email is everything a forward should be; short, but powerful. Hope you enjoy. 

     On the radio this morning, I heard a story about a woman who was Christmas shopping with her two children.  After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything  they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

      As they headed toward the elevator, she was feeling what so many of us feel during the Christmas holiday.  Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every open house, taste all the holiday food and treats, and get that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

      Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the elevator.  She pushed her way into the elevator and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff.

      When the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and said,  "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

      From the back of the elevator she heard a quiet calm voice respond,  "Don't worry, we already crucified him."

      For the rest of the trip down in the elevator it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.  Don't forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word.  If we all did,  just think of how different this whole world would be.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Dec 7, 2009

Christmas Rush

     Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the feelings it brings. Everything just seems so joyful, music and lights are everywhere. It is a great time of year to slow down and really contemplate God's incredible love for us.
     But this year, I haven't slowed down much. I have been frantically trying to complete the many projects that I must attend to. Then yesterday it hit me just how stupid I was being. So I dropped one of my projects. I do not want to rush through Christmas.
     Last night felt great! I cannot say I did anything especially Christmasy (except put on my fuzzy socks), but I made myself take a breath and quit rushing. And like I said, it was great.
     Now I can really listen to the lyrics of the songs on the radio. Have you ever done that? It fills me with awe when the songs remind me of the grace and love of our Savior.
     Now I can enjoy putting up the decorations with my family, and really appreciate the beauty. And, yeah, Christmas isn't about the decorations, but they certainly add to the season for me.
     Are you slowing down the Christmas rush this year? How are you accomplishing that?

Post Tenebras Lux!

Dec 2, 2009

Saga of the Brother Knights - Part 2

The Clock

     Derrik gazed at the gazebo, hands in his pockets. He marched up the steps and said, “It’s a little strange to put such a fancy clock in a gazebo, especially a gazebo in the middle of nowhere. Don’t you think?”
     Thomas climbed up behind his older brother. “Yeah, I guess. The whole place seems weird.”
     “Well, it’s definitely creepy,” Derrik agreed, peering closely at the clock. He removed the clock from its hook and turned it over. The hands of the clock had long ceased to move, frozen in their positions, no longer ticking in constant rhythm.
     Carefully, Derrik pried open the back of the clock. “Woa,” he gasped.
     “What?” asked Thomas, stepping over to look into the clock’s mechanics. He echoed Derrik’s gasp.
     Bright, multicolored gems gleamed in the interior of the clock. The precious stones were flat and variously shaped, fitting together within the clock like the pieces of a puzzle. Thomas’s eyes grew as round as the tops of two light bulbs. Derrik whistled lowly.
     “No wonder the clock isn’t working,” the older boy said quietly. He pointed at the gems and explicated, “It looks like all the gears and stuff were taken out to make room for the jewels.”
     Leaning closer to examine the gems, Thomas saw that Derrik was right; the inside of the clock was empty of all machinery, containing only the gems.
     “Lookit,” Thomas said. “There’s one missing.”
     Derrik glanced at the empty space in the gem puzzle, then scanned the gazebo floor. “Maybe it fell out when I opened the clock.”
     The two brothers searched the gazebo, but with no success. Thomas hopped over the railing and sifted through the fallen leaves around the gazebo. As he circled the perimeter, Thomas began, “I don’t see it….” Then something sticking out of the earth caught his eye. He bent and drew out the half buried object. It was a blood red, palm sized jewel that glinted in the sunlight. Thomas held it up victoriously and exclaimed, “I got it!”

Nov 30, 2009

The Truth about Clear Truth

     There is something that annoys me a lot, and that is when authors are vague in their descriptions of truth for fear of being "preachy". It makes me so sad when I see Christian authors try to water down the gospel so as not to offend anyone. God has given us a Truth that needs to be told, whether people want to hear it or not.

     Don't get me wrong; I am not saying we should shove it down their throats and beat them upside the head with it. But I think we certainly do not need to be cautious about pointing to God in fiction. People can interpret "truth" and "faith" and "love" as meaning anything they want it to in this day and age; from Islam to New Age it differs. But real truth, love, and faith can only be found in one place, or rather, in one Person.

     Do people even care? Will it really affect anyone? Yes. I can tell you from experience that God can touch a hard heart through fantasy when nothing else could.

     No, I'm not going to tell you that I was saved through The Princess and The Goblin. I became a Christian when I was six years old, and lived my whole life going to church and believing in God. However, when I was in my early teens, my family decided to move across the country, away from our friends and everything I had grown up with. I became very sad, although if you had asked me then I would probably have said I was fine. I began to build walls around my heart in a sort of quiet rebellion against God and my family. All I wanted to do was be alone and read fantasy. I went through so many books during that time.

     Finally, I picked up C. S. Lewis's fantasy book The Magician's Nephew. I had already read all of The Chronicles of Narnia years ago, but I had run out of stuff to read on this particular day. I remember sitting on my bed, recalling the plot as I read. If you don't know the story, GO READ IT! But seriously, the gist of it is that a boy named Digory accidentally brings an evil Empress into the fantasy land of Narnia. In that land, Digory sees Aslan the Lion, who is the Christ figure of the story, and realizes that Aslan can help Digory cure his dying mother. Desperate, Digory attempts to ask Aslan for help, but because Digory brought evil into Narnia, Aslan appoints Digory to go on a quest that will defeat the wicked Empress. Digory agrees, knowing that it is his duty, but feels ignored by the Lion and thinks that he will now never get a cure for his mother. The scene comes to a point where Digory at last blurts out:

     "But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then, he [Digory] had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them: now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

     "My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great...."

     I started to cry as I read this, because it reminded me that God really, truly cares. He doesn't just care about us, He cares about the things we care about (as long as they are not sinful, of course). This passage was a moment of truth, real truth, for me. I saw that He knew my heartache, even knew my rebellion, and still loved me. I had been looking at His giant claws, expecting them to rain wrath on me for my rebellious spirit, but all the time He knew my pain and was aching to comfort me, He just wasn't able to until I let Him. It didn't all end there, but my regression from rebellion had begun.

     This is why I believe vagueness doesn't help anyone. We are up against so much, from Harry Potter to Twilight; people who read fantasy are just not hearing the truth.We can reach people though fiction, even fantasy. So why would we not? To create a bestseller? Oh, yes, I'm sure that's what Jesus would have done. (Excuse the sarcasm, bear with me.)

     There is nothing wrong with writing for entertainment. But why not use the gift God has given you to encourage and point people to Him and Him alone? I challenge you to write with godly purpose. It will be rewarded.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 27, 2009

The Search Continues

     Happy late Thanksgiving, guys, gals, and Elves! I hope you had a great one! I sure did.

     After ten days of consideration, I have decided to continue my search for an agent. The decision has been gradual, but I believe it is better than getting an editor or working on another project. This time, though, I will be sending the manuscript to several agents at once.

     I have many hours of research ahead of me; I need to look into each agent to see if they are respectable and fair people who will not take advantage of a novice writer. To do this, I will e-mail a few of the authors and publishers who the agent has worked with and ask for their opinion of the agent. I did this with the previous agent, and it was time consuming enough with just that one. Now I need to do it for several agents!

     I do not know when I'll have the time to do this, as I am busily preparing for a certain holiday called... um... oh, yeah, CHRISTMAS! After the season is over, I expect to be able to resume my quest properly.

     So if you know of an agent that I should look into, let me know! :)

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 17, 2009

The SASE I Hoped I Would Never See Again

     An ominous letter came in the mail today. Addressed to myself... by myself... with the return address of the agent in the left-hand corner. I think I literally gulped as I opened the envelope and unfolded the white sheet that was tucked inside.
     The letter got right to the point (unlike this post). The agent thanked me for sending my proposal, but said it was not what they were looking for.
     But there is more. The agent was very kind and said that my proposal was well done (thanks for your help, Dwarf!). The agent also commented that my writing skills are high (not to toot my own horn or anything...), but I need to work on the crafting of the story. All around, the note was very encouraging. I would pick this type of letter for any writer's first rejection notice.
     I am not as disappointed as I expected to be. For years I have been imagining what a rejection letter would feel like, so I think that has helped build a wall against becoming depressed. My family is super supportive. I have a God who still loves me like crazy. Basically, life is still awesome.
     I do have some decisions I need to make now. Do I continue to search for the right agent? Do I send the story to an editor? Do I put it aside and work on something else for a while? I definitely need to seek God's guidance at this point (as I should be always, anyway). I'll post when I know what I'm doing, of course.
     THANK YOU ALL FOR PRAYING!!! It didn't work out the way I had hoped, but that wasn't what I was praying for. Obviously, God has a different plan. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys and gals for keeping me in prayer and supporting me during this time. You are the best.
Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 6, 2009

Writing Tips

     Many authors have offered writing tips that I have found to be especially helpful. I thought it may be a good idea to list a few that I have been taught and some that I have learned myself.
  1. NEVER GIVE UP. Author Bruce Coville first taught me this. If you want to write, you must never give up. It will take work. It will take time. But you must not throw your hands into the air. Just keep on writing.
  2. READ. I have learned from experience that reading is quite possibly the most important step toward writing something amazing. Fill your mind with the same thing you want to write about. There was a time when I thought that reading would only give my brain more material to copy and reincarnate into another story, but I have since learned that is not true. You learn and your creativity is fed by reading.
  3. WRITE. Sigmund Brouwer says in his book Short Cuts, "Writing is like sports. Hit ten thousand slapshots in hockey, and you can't help but have a better slapshot. Write a couple thousand pages, and you'll improve. Guaranteed."
  4.  BE ORIGINAL. I found this quote from Bryan Davis on Wayne Thomas Batson's blog, and I think it makes a lot of sense: "Don't copy what has already been done-another form of Middle Earth, a new Narnia, or a Christian imitation of Harry Potter. Be bold. Write themes you're passionate about rather than what you think the market wants. Don't be afraid to make real heroes."
  5. PRAY. God is the Creator of creativity. Think about that for a second. Because He is the Creator, He controls everything, even creativity. That means He can also give it. So pray, ask Him to grant you creative ideas. I have personally prayed for that, only to be stuck by an idea I never would have thought of myself, an idea that could only be a gift from God. Don't just pray about creativity, though. Pray about everything. He is more than capable to guide you and help you. The best part is that He wants to. 
     So there is my mini list of tips and tricks.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 3, 2009

Book Review- Curse of the Spider King

     What would you do if you discovered you were an Elven lord from another world? What if you were being hunted by beings who could take on the form of anyone, even your most trusted friends and family? What if you suddenly gained incredible power that could enable you to see the future, walk on air, or read thoughts? These are the exciting questions Curse of the Spider King asks.
     Hundreds of years ago, the mighty kingdom of the Elves was overtaken by the Spider King. Though the Elven Sentinels of Allyra fought valiantly, they were no match for the Spider King's forces, and the enemy succeeded in capturing the seven prophesied lords of Allyra, all of whom were still only babies. 
     The surviving remnant of Elves were forced to flee underground to escape total annihilation by the Spider King. There they hid for centuries, until rumors spread that the Elven lords were still alive... but not in the world of Berinfell....

     Curse of the Spider King follows seven young teenagers- teenagers who think they are human. But there are others who know better. Some want to bring them home, back to their rightful place in Berinfell. Some want them dead. Who can be trusted? There is nowhere to hide. Will anyone escape the wrath of the Spider King?

 I found Curse of the Spider King to be very intriguing. All around, it was a very good book that I would recommend to any teenager. My favorite thing about it is how the evil Wisps can only be slain using words that parallel the Scripture!

If this book sounds like something you would enjoy, click on the link on the side bar.

If you want more information on the authors of this book, here are the links to their blogs:

Oct 30, 2009

How to get a Book Endorsement

     I am no expert on this matter, but someone pointed out to me that in my last post I did not say exactly how I was able to get a published author to read my manuscript. So, for those of you interested, I'm going to tell you the entire process.


     No joke! All I did was contact a handful of authors and ask them how an unpublished author is supposed to go about getting endorsements. A few replied, saying that I was doing it exactly the way it was supposed be done. By asking. 

     One of the authors said, "Yes, can you email it to me?" I think I almost did a back-flip in my chair! Another one said, "Sorry, I can't. I'm too busy for that right now." I haven't heard from some of the others yet.     

     I think that often readers come to see authors as untouchable "movie stars" of literature. I'm finding out that usually isn't true. Hey, they used to be dreamers, too, just like the rest of us writers! The authors I have come into contact with have been very cordial and helpful.

      Obviously, if you are looking for an endorsement, I would start by asking authors who are in the same genre as the story you have written. Don't go to Ted Dekker if you have an Amish romance (lol). The point is to find someone who will actually want to endorse your manuscript!

     Also, I doubt any author will read your manuscript if it isn't completely finished. Authors are busy people (take a look at your bookshelf). They probably don't have time to edit an unfinished story. Make sure your book is ready to give to the first agent or publisher that says, "I want this story!" Then you can ask an author to read it.

     Guess that's all I have for now. Like I said, I am no expert. In fact, this is my very first time down this particular stretch of road on my journey. But hopefully you have found my observances to be helpful.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 29, 2009

Mountains and Valleys

     It is incredible how God never fails. Seriously, it's just crazy that He is always faithful and never lets us down. Even in the little things He proves Himself.
     I'm telling you, this whole journey with my book has been a roller coaster ride. There have been so many times when, just when I begin to feel discouraged, something happens that pulls me to my feet again. Could be as simple as getting a phone call from a friend to tell me that they read my story and liked it. Simple as hearing that somebody wants to read my stuff. Simple encouragement that goes a long way.
     Funny thing is, the encouragement always comes exactly when I need it most. As soon as I begin to doubt myself, someone does or says something that touches my heart and makes me want to keep going. Isn't God amazing?
     I am not saying that God is going to make my book be a bestseller. I'm not even saying it will sell at all! But I do believe that He cares about the things I care about, simply because He loves me. He may have planned that I never become an author. That's ok. Right now, though, I am seeing His hand work in my situation. And I am amazed. I guess that could be the point of why He's doing it.
     So, what's the most recent bit of encouragement that's made me go, "wow?" Well... *drum roll* a published author who I respect is going to read my manuscript! Crazy thing? It was at one of those times when I was starting get anxious about what the agent is going to think of my proposal. I can hardly believe it!!!
     Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. God... You are cool!
     Basically, I've been praising God all day from the top of this mountain. Sure, a valley is bound to come sooner or later, but my God is faithful. As long as I am obeying Him and trusting His plan for me, I need not fear the future.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 20, 2009

Saga of the Brother Knights- Part I

McAllen Farm and the Mysterious Place

     Thomas McAllen struggled to lace up his stiff, second-hand boots with the dented toe. He tied the strings and took a few tentative steps. The boots would work for now.
     Putting his hands on his hips, Thomas took a deep breath, filling his lungs with crisp mountain air as he surveyed his grandmother’s farm.
     Gladys McAllen, Thomas’s grandmother, lived alone on the side of a small mountain in the Old South. She was a kind, but hard-working woman; the kind of grandma that looked like she could beat the tar out of you, but never did. Her mountain haven consisted of acres upon acres of untamed forest with a small farm nestled in the middle of the land.
     Chickens strutted around the farm and a few goats meandered in a large pen, the latter occasionally bleating and chewing their cud. The goat pen was next to the white barn that housed a horse named Willard Van Trapsdale III. Kittens pounced around rusty machinery, scurrying out of sight whenever Thomas happened upon them. There was a little garden at the back of Gladys’s farmhouse, filled with beats, zucchini, and other such vegetables that Thomas would rather avoid eating.
     The land basked in the easy silence of solitude. Every once in a great while a battered pick-up truck would rattle past the farm’s long, twisting driveway; but besides that, there was not any nearby traffic to speak of. One of the loudest sounds on the farm was the sharp crack of acorns impacting the barn’s tin roof on their way from the tree branches to the leaf-strewn ground.
     ‘The loudest noise,’ thought Thomas, ‘is the obnoxious barking of Grandma’s dumb old dog!’ Thomas winced against the dog’s thunderous howling. “Prince!” he barked back at the black canine. “Knock it off already! Seriously, do you have to murder my ear drums every time I walk outside the house?”
     The guard dog cocked his head and emitted a low hrmm that sounded exactly like a cranky old man. Prince sauntered away without another sound.
At the sound of laughter, Thomas turned to see his older brother, Derrik, treading up the hill from the barn. “Hey dog-whisperer,” Derrik teased. “I was beginning to wonder if you would ever get out of bed today.”
     Thomas stretched and replied, “Nothing wrong with taking advantage of our vacation to sleep in.”
     “True,” Derrik agreed. “Except when Grandma gives us permission to take the four-wheeler out for a spin.”
     “Are you serious?!” Thomas gasped excitedly. “She said we could drive it?”
     Derrik smiled. “Now you know why I’ve been anxious for you to get up.”
     Letting out a whoop so loud that it shook the mountains, Thomas raced down the slope that Derrik had just climbed. His old boots threatened to throw him off balance, so Thomas checked his speed on the rest of the steep incline.
     Grandma Gladys was at the bottom of the hill, carrying a bucket of chicken feed. From her mud-caked boots and her torn jeans to her auburn hair gathered in a short ponytail, she was every bit a farm girl. She rested a calloused fist on the side of her slim waist while she watched Thomas descend the hill with Derrik plodding behind.
     “Good aftahnoon, sleepah,” Gladys called to Thomas, her New England accent very pronounced as she substituted her “er’s” for “ah’s.”
     Knowing full well that it was not yet afternoon, Thomas ignored his grandmother’s teasing and slowed to a halt beside her, panting heavily.
     “Gonna drive the faw-wheelah up the trails?” Gladys asked with a grin.
     “Yeah!” Thomas exclaimed as he shifted in his uncomfortable boots. “Thanks for letting us, Grandma!”
     “Well, sure, you’ah welcome,” Gladys replied. “Just remembah that dinnah’s at five, so make suah you boys ah back heah by then, or else I’m gonna staht worrying ‘bout you.” Because she had resumed her walk toward the chicken coop, Gladys spoke over her shoulder.
     As Derrik came up behind him, Thomas whispered in a creepy tone, “And beware the Black Banshee!” Thomas laughed, but seeing Derrik’s serious face, he cut his joviality short and asked, “What?”
     Shaking his head mournfully, Derrik replied, “Tommy, the Black Banshee is real, you know.”
     Thomas was fooled for only a moment. “And so are dragons and unicorns! Come on, Rick, I know you way better than that! You can’t dupe me, dude.”
     “Maybe,” Derrik returned, giving Thomas a friendly punch on the arm. “But I can still outrun you! Last one to the four-wheeler is the last to ride!”
     The peaceful stillness of the forest behind McAllen Farm was broken by the roaring motor of a four-wheeler.
     Thomas clung to the small vehicle while rich fall colors rushed past in a blur. As he bounced down the path through the woods, Thomas was again amazed by the beauty of his grandmother’s mountain. He didn’t consider himself to be a city boy, but the beautiful forest and the quiet farm were definitely more rural surrounding than what he usually lived in. It made him silently thank God for His wonderful creation.
     A change in the foliage caught Thomas’s eye. He brought the four-wheeler to a halt, dismounted, and stepped into the forest.
     Just off the nearly overgrown path, beneath a shower of red, orange, and yellow leaves, stood a white gazebo. The wooden structure was elaborately carved with swirling patterns. A brass clock hung on the pillar farthest from the entrance. As Thomas climbed into the gazebo, he suddenly felt a heavy loneliness that seemed to haunt the mysterious place. Thomas cleared off the layer of leaves that blanketed a wooden two-person swing hanging on one side of the gazebo. He sat down and stared around him. It was even quieter than his grandmother’s farm, but not nearly as peaceful. A chill breeze made Thomas shiver in his sweatshirt, and an oppressive feeling came over him, as if an old anger was bearing down, seeking vengeance.
     Shaking his head, Thomas told himself he was crazy and glanced down at his watch. ‘4:45,’ he thought, ‘Better get back so I don’t miss pizza.’ Gladys was not much of a cook, but she knew how to do takeout.
Thomas climbed onto the four-wheeler and zoomed back down the path, leaving the eerie gazebo behind him. But he did not mean to forget about it; in fact, he resolved to question his grandmother about it at the first chance he got. After he showed Derrik, of course.

Oct 19, 2009

The Story Shall be Told....

     Just a quick "heads-up".... I plan to post the first installment of my blog saga tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it!
     It is a little long, so I am apologizing beforehand for that. I do not like to read much on the computer, so... I'm sorry. I am hoping you will not mind as much as I do, or that you'll print it out to read in the bathroom (come on, I know we all do it!).

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 18, 2009

Vacation Writing

     I love vacations. They are just all around great! I like getting ready to go on vacations, I like being on vacations, and I like coming home again after vacations. I wonder if there will be vacations in Heaven? :)
     The particular vacation that I just got back from was very relaxing. No internet access, that sort of thing. It drove me frantic, but it was good. It also afforded me the time to finish rewriting on my book! Wahoo!
     So, is the manuscript finally complete? Uh... well, not yet. I still need to check with my personal editors to see if they like it (a.k.a. my friends and family). And then I need to type all the chapter page numbers in the Content section at the beginning; a slow, tedious, but necessary process. Then, THEN the manuscript will be done.
     "Done" is a relative term. I doubt I'll ever be done done with it. I doubt any writer is ever completely done. *laughs*
     I was also able to concoct a new work while I was vacationing. I'm going to be beginning a new thing on this blog, hopefully it'll be happening soon. Every now and then, as I get time and ideas, I'll be posting a fictional saga. I have no idea how the story is going to work out... more than likely it will end up pretty crummy. But crummy isn't always bad, right? Especially if you're not writing it to publish.
    I figured that I can't have a blog about my writing journey and not have any of my writing on it. Like I said, I'm just doing it to give you a taste of my writing, not ever planning to publish, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the story. I am the type of writer who likes to criticize (sometimes a little too much), but that is because I like others to criticize my work. The worst thing you can say about one of my stories is, "It's good." Drives me bonkers. What is good??? Or are you just saying that because you don't want to hurt my feelings??? Good and fair criticism is invaluable, as I always say.
     Don't take me wrong; I am not looking for you guys to critique my saga thoroughly. I'm just saying that if you are compelled to, as I would probably be, then have at it. Who knows? I might find out a bad flaw in my writing style from one of you. I hope not, but you never know. *laughs*

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 7, 2009

The First Time

     There is something special about holding your book proposal in your hand for the first time. The clean, white stack of papers is sitting on my desk at this very moment. I cannot help wondering, 'If this is how it feels just to have printed my book proposal, how much more amazing will it be when I actually hold my first published book?' I can hardly believe that I am looking at the proposal right now. It's real. It's happening. I am really sending it to an agent.
     I am praising God. It is only because of Him that I have gotten this far! This is all His doing, and I am bubbling with excitement over what He may accomplish through me and what He has already done. Thank You, God! Thank You, thank You for all this. I am so undeserving, but You have seen fit to bring glory to Your name through me. I'll never understand why, and all I can do is thank You.
     I will be sending the proposal out within a matter of days (I hope... you never know with my life). I am going on a vacation this upcoming week, so I am not certain when I will be able to post again. But the agent probably won't reply for at least a month, so don't worry about it too much (I know, you are all sitting there in suspense! *laughs*)
     So, besides sightseeing, what will I be doing while my proposal sits on the agent's desk? Biting my fingernails while staring hypnotically at the mailbox, of course! *Geloto* Just kidding. Seriously, I plan to finish editing the book. Yes, that is not done. I put it off to complete the proposal, and now I have to get on it. Shouldn't take too long. I need to rewrite some parts at the end, but if I work diligently, I should have it done very soon after my vacation.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 2, 2009

Regretful Report

     My thoughts after writing the last post: "Yeah, sure, I'll post when I send the book proposal out. I'm almost done. Probably be able to send it out tomorrow..." Ha! No such luck! 
     I regret to report that, yet again, I sit here nearly a week later with the book proposal still unprinted. Time has slipped through my fingers once more, and I am shaking my fist in fury at it.
     There just seems to be always one more thing that needs to be fixed in the proposal. I am particularly struggling over the summary. Just when I think I've got it perfect... I find out different! One thing after another. Will I ever get this thing out?
     I have everything ready, I even have the envelope to send it in! But the proposal itself is still being... erm, edited (if you can edit a book proposal). 
     So, I'm going to ask you to pray for me. I should have been asking you from the very beginning, but that's a different issue with pride and relying on my own strength.... Please pray that God will help me just be able to find the time and the brains to work through the proposal and get it out! Thanks, I really need it.

Post Tenebras Lux,

Sep 26, 2009

Update Time!

     It's been a week since my last post already??? Bad, bad!
     I have completed my book proposal!!! At least, I just have to read over it, maybe fix a few things, and then it will be done. Truthfully, it should have been done a week ago, but am very distracted right now with the Alternate Reality Game that Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are hosting on their forum, The Underground. *sigh* I am a terrible fantasy nut!
     Anyway, the proposal should be done by tomorrow, and when it is finished.... bra-ha-ha.... THEN the fun starts! I will send it to the agent and await their response. I know it's going to be terrible; I can hardly wait for books to be delivered from Amazon, and I'm supposed to wait for two months to hear if my very first book has been accepted or not?! Wonderful. :)
      I still haven't heard back from the publisher I contacted about the agent. I can tell you that I sure won't be looking into using them when the time comes to seek a publisher! Not if they're going to ignore people, no way.
      Last thing: THANK YOU EVERYONE who has taken an interest in my blog!!! You are all wonderful encouragement and totally awesome!!! Thank you SO much!
     I'll post again when I have sent out the proposal.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 19, 2009

You Might Be a Creative If...

     Just for fun, I want to share a blog post from one of my favorite authors, Wayne Thomas Batson. Mr. Batson is the writer of the Door Within Trilogy and the Isle of Swords pirate books. He is currently co-authoring a new fantasy series with Christopher Hopper; their first book, Curse of the Spider King, is due out next month. I hold Mr. Batson in high respect for his great imagination, kid-friendly characters and story lines (although older people may certainly enjoy his works), and especially his obvious love for God.
     I found the below post on his blog and loved it. I hope you will, too! (And yes, I identify with most of the "ifs") Enjoy!

I've had a lot of time off of work lately. It began with my kids getting a stomach virus (that was fun). Then, my school system had parent conferences, so I had Friday off. We had Tuesday off for elections, and then an ice storm hits so Wednesday, I'm off again. Wednesday morning, lucky me, I spike a 103.1 fever and come down with the flu, so there goes the rest of the week. So, I've had a lot of time off. Besides doctor-ordered rest, guess what I did?

I fired up my computer, loaded up my 3D art program: Bryce 3D (by Daz Studios) and CREATED. I created my fool head off. I was picturing one of the settings for my new fantasy series and trying to make a 3D rendering of it, and you know what? I had SO much fun doing it! That got me thinking: I am a Creative. God made me that way. In fact, to one degree or another, I believe God made us all creative. God did, after all, make us in His image. And He is The Creator. Ever seen a sunset or the forest after an ice storm? Nuff said.

But I believe it's abundantly clear that God has given some people a special talent for creating--and not just the talent--but the DESIRE to create. These people are CREATIVES. I started thinking about the special kind of nutty-ness that defines us creatives. Think about it this way: sculptors, architects, painters, artists, musicians, writers, etc.--we spend days, weeks, months, even years creating something that our audience will devour or experience for a relatively short time. I just got reader mail from a 12 year old who read my whole Door Within Trilogy in a weekend. A WEEKEND. Those three books took me a total of FIFTEEN YEARS to write, and WHOOSH, he's done in two days. Look at some of the brilliant architecture in the world, esp. Europe. Breathtaking---absolutely breathtaking. And yet the tour bus drops off people to look at it for a few hour, maybe, and off it goes. It's like your mom when she spends days working on Thanksgiving dinner only to have it gobbled* up in a brief feeding frenzy that would put a school of bull sharks to shame. WHOOSH, and it's over.

So, why do we creatives do it? Why spend so much passionate effort to create something so fleeting? I think the answer is multifaceted. Part of the answer, I've already mentioned: we were made to create. We create because we need to. It's in us and we need to let it out. We create because, if we didn't, part of us would go clinically insane. It's who we are. In his mega bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren talks about the importance of doing what "we were made to do." There is a satisfaction we feel when we create. If we didn't create, we'd walk around feeling like something was unfinished...and waiting.

But I think also, we create because we want to please others. Now, don't misunderstand me. My main goal in life is to please God. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God. But then what? Jesus said, love your neighbor. I believe that creativity in its many forms (art, music, fiction, etc.) shows love to out neighbor. People are encouraged, uplifted, inspired, provoked, and comforted by creativity. Why else do we hang paintings or matted photos in our homes? Why do we have little crafty knick-knacks on the shelf? Why do we feel moved when we hear a certain song? Art touches people. Imagine a world with an absence of creativity. What would that be like? Uhhggh. I don't like the looks of that picture either.

Our creative expression can be love and light to the world. And I don't just mean paintings of Jesus, praise hymns, and conversion stories. Nothing wrong with those things--all good. But any quality expression of our creativity. A painting of a sunset. A song about your wife. A good old adventure story. It all** shows love to the world. The only thing is that love and light have to be broadcast to other people. You can't hide a light under a basket. You can't keep your love to yourself. What good does that do? Sure, I can draw something and enjoy it myself. But why stop there. Maybe someone else would find joy in it as well.

But that's where another characteristic of the Creative can get in the way of our desire to create: we tend to be our own worst critics. Creative types tend to want their creation to be "just right." And that's a good thing to a degree. We don't want to publish a story that is poorly written. We don't want to record a song if the tune is discordant. But we cannot allow our own perfectionism or self-doubt to keep us from loving the world with our art! You might think that your work isn't good enough. But how will you ever know? If you don't have someone else experience your creative expression, how do you know if it's good? Sure, start small. Share it with one other person, a parent, a teacher, a trusted friend. But do share it. Get some feedback. Get some training. Practice. And then...share it some more!

I am convinced that RIGHT NOW, sitting in various places all over the world there are the following people: a) photographers and artist whose images *could* adorn galleries and homes and remind people of the greatness of God's creation. b) composers and songwriters whose melodies *might* lift thousands from the jaws of depression and give them hope. c) writers whose stories *could* change the lives of a generation. I have no doubt that there are thousands of such CREATIVES out there, but still dormant. And for every thousand of those whose works *might* have a sweeping impact, there are hundreds of thousands of people whose creativity *could* impact on a smaller, more local scale. Maybe the one kid at school who listens to your song, looks at your picture, or reads your story, maybe he was contemplating suicide…but won't go through with it because of your loving him though your creativity.

So, are you a CREATIVE? I bet you know if you are.

But just in case you don't, here's a little nonScientific/nonAuthoritative way of finding out. I put this in the format made famous by comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his "You might be a redneck if..."

So here is:

You might be a Creative if...***

1. You find yourself sizing people up for future characters.

2. You're watching a movie and think, "I could do better than that!"

3. You have rock-hard callouses on your fingers from clutching a drawing pencil, as well as, smudges all over the side of your pinky finger and palm.

4. You're left handed.

5. You just can't get that little melody out of your head.

6. You find yourself scrawling little story ideas on napkins, sticky notes, church bulletins, your arm, and...your little brother's arm.

7. You call your cell phone to leave yourself a story idea.

8. You can't wait for __________ to end so that you can go work on your story, song, etc.

9. You're angry because your computer's art program only works with 600 colors.

10. You find yourself laughing OUT LOUD at something you've written.

11. You nearly run off the road because you've got an idea that MUST be written down.

12. Your dream was so offbeat there just has to be a story in there somewhere.

13. The most wonderful thing you've ever seen is: a blank sheet of paper.

14. The most terrifying thing you've ever seen is: a blank sheet of paper.

AND FINALLY, you know you might be a CREATIVE if: You find yourself giggling like an idiot when you make something YOU KNOW IS GOOD.

I think it's time to take the basket off of our light. Don't you?

*pun intended.

**Like any good thing that God gives us, creativity can be misused. So art, music, fiction, etc. that leads people away from God, isn't cool.

***Official Disclaimer: If these things are not true of you, that does not necessarily mean you are NOT creative. These are just humorous reminders.
Posted by WayneThomasBatson

Sep 16, 2009

Writing the Book Proposal

     A few days ago, I resent the e-mail to the second publisher asking about the agent. Let's hope they realize that I am serious for an answer this time. :)
     While I'm waiting for a response from the publisher, I have begun to write my book proposal. It is going to take more time than I thought! Apparently, there is a certain way to do this, according to Michael Hyatt (the CEO of Thomas Nelson, you'll remember). I am under the impression that the proposal does not need to be followed to the letter of the law, but since this is my very first one, I don't want to experiment too much. When I am a million dollar author, I won't worry about it as much, but until then.... (ha ha, a millionaire, right.In my dreams!)
     If you don't know, a book proposal is an overview of what you are presenting to the agent. It contains all the information, and I mean all. From the the manuscript length, to your selling ideas, to your biography, to a description of what your audience will look like. Yeah, a lot of work. And it doesn't help that every time I think about it, I get butterflies in my stomach!
     It is so close now. Soon I will know if I am to be an author. Very scary.
     I know that most first time authors get rejected. That's alright. God's plan will come about. If getting published is His plan, then whoopee!!! If not, then He knows best.
     Just this experience is getting me all hyped up. This whole process is my dream coming true.
     So, that is the short update. 

     Post Tenebras Lux,

Sep 12, 2009

First Week Down... Who Knows How Many More To Go!

     This blog is officially a week old. Whew! It felt like a lot longer.
     Ok, so, update: At Michael Hyatt's suggestion on his blog, I contacted several authors and publishers about an agent I found who looked promising. Basically, I asked them what they thought about the agent. Thus far, all the authors have responded, but only one of the publishers has gotten back to me, so I am waiting for the second response. Because everyone has told me only good things about this agent, I am not sure how long I will wait for a reply from the publisher. Although the silence makes me suspicious....
     As far as the editing goes... eh heh, well, I've been a bit distracted this week. (Go ahead and give me a virtual slap) I have enough to send to the agent (I'm more than half way through), so that's probably why I've allowed myself to slack a little. Still, bad bad.
     Right now, I'm in a stage of waiting and making decisions. The closer I get to really, seriously pursuing the agent, the more anxious I get. Is my story good enough? Am I skilled enough, learned enough, talented, or smart enough? For the world, well, I'm just not sure yet. Sometimes I'm sure I am going to knock the socks off of the agents, publishers, and bookstores. Other times, I am sure that no one will ever consider my manuscript. It's hard to remember that I'm accepted by God just as I am.
     All I can say is, I'm glad God has my life all figured out, because I sure don't! It's much better to rely on Him to guide my paths than try to do it myself.
Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 8, 2009

The Common Phrase

     There are times when the unbelievable characteristics of God just hit you in a way that makes you go "WOW." When you are still and simply contemplating His awesomeness, doesn't it blow your mind? Fill you with a fire? Make you want to run and leap and laugh and cry and dance all at once? Sometimes the beauty of nature makes you stop and think about it, or sometimes it's something you read. God reveals Himself in marvelous ways, truly. I wrote the following during a moment of being in awe of Him. It isn't exactly a story, just my ponderings over something that has become so ordinary, we hardly ever think about it. I hope you are encouraged.

"God loves you." We hear that phrase a lot, but do we often stop and really muse over the meaning of those words? Think about it:

GOD... the One who created the entire universe; every star, every blade of grass, every little atom. The One who makes the sun rise and set. The One who holds everything together. The only One who gives life. (Gen.1:1)

... with an agape love that will never ever cease, no matter what happens, no matter what you do. His love is a constant stream that never fails. An endless song. A forever refuge. A Father's care. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

YOU... though you have betrayed Him countless times. You have broken His commands, denied His truth, pushed Him away, fled, and tried to hide from Him. You are well versed in finding excuses for your sin. You do not deserve Him. (Rom. 3:23)

     "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7: 24-25)
      GOD LOVES YOU! He actually loves you!!! Isn't that amazing??? GOD LOVES YOU so much, He gave you His Son, so that you don't have to be under sin's bonds! So you can be with Him forever! So you can really know Him!
      What are you waiting for? Don't you want to love Him back? He wants to be in your life, wants a deep relationship with you. Tell Him. Talk to Him. He Loves You.


Sep 6, 2009

My Journey so Far

     This blogging is going to take some getting used to! As you will see, I am a random writer; depending on my mood, I can be as poetic as I was yesterday and then suddenly break out in slang... y'know what I'm sayin'? This is good for creating character voices, not so good for blogging. I'm going to have to find my middle ground....
     Anyway, as I said in my last post, I am in the process of publishing a book I have written. I can't give too many details about the book on this blog, for the obvious reason that they could be stolen. I'm sure you can understand why that would be a bad thing. I can say that it is Christian sci-fi/fantasy, and I guess the age group would be teens, although I think it is good for any age. The book stands at approximately 300 pages and over 100,000 words. I am in the process of the final editing, but the numbers shouldn't change drastically.
     So, where am I in the publishing process? Well, in between editing, I am searching for an agent. In order to be recognized by any large publisher, you have to have an agent. If you send in a manuscript just out of the blue, they will not even look at it. But finding an agent is almost as difficult as finding a publisher. Agents are besieged by author wannabes, and finding the right manuscript is like looking for that old needle in a haystack. But if the needle is solid gold, then it is worth the search. That is an agent's job; to find that gold needle.
     Agents don't have time to read every manuscript, so along with your book, you have to send in a query, which is basically a mini book proposal, from what I have gathered. The query tells the agent the basics of your book. So I will soon be whipping up one of those, too.
     I have found an agent who looks promising, and I expect to be sending in my book and query soon. It is incredible how God has been opening doors for me!
     My book was not originally written for publication. I wrote it for fun, to be read only by my friends and family. Everyone kept asking if I was going to publish, telling me it was really good. I just thought, "Yeah, well, that's just cuz you're my friends. You wouldn't really think it was good if it had been written by someone else!" Then one of my friends sent it to someone I had never met (and still haven't met, in fact)... and this person was captured by the story! It was the first time someone I didn't know had read something I'd written, someone who had no obligation to say they liked it, and they thought it was good. I was... well, flattered! If that person liked it, then maybe other people would, too. I finally began to consider publishing it.
     Since then, I have been slowly moving in that direction, but it wasn't until recently that it has begun to really come together. It is crazy how God seems to be letting all this happen. We'll see how it goes from here, but for now, I am going to keep pursuing getting this book published unless God tells me to knock it off.


Sep 5, 2009

I have a story to tell you....

     Beginnings are incredible gifts. At first, they seem scary, and you are unsure where this new path will take you. But they also bring the thrill of adventure, the excited discovering of unknown places. What will happen? You don't know. All you can do is trust the One who does.
     This is where I am now. You are reading my first public blog post. Talk about a begining! This is a brand new journey I am about to embark on, and I am so happy to be able to share it with you.
     Who am I? I am a storyteller. At the moment, I have written a Christian sci-fi/fantasy book that I am seeking to publish. This is my first book ever, and I am traveling on unfamiliar grounds as I try to contact the right people and gather the right information. It has been a wild ride so far, and to be honest, sometimes it's scary. That is what this blog is about; a writer's journey into untraveled territory.
     Who am I? I am a child of the King of kings. Jesus Christ is my one and only Savior. He is my best Friend. I trust Him far more than anyone else. He is the Author of my faith, the Writer of the best-selling Book of all time, and the Source of my creativity. It is my wholehearted desire to bring Him glory in my life, because life is worthless without Him.
     I hope you will enjoy my journey along with me. I don't know how often I will be able to post, but I will when new things happen. Random writings will also appear, I'm sure; stories, thoughts, ravings.... :)
     Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope and pray that you will return.